A ball screw is a device that converts rotary motion to linear motion. The device consists of a screw shaft, a rotating nut, and ball bearings between the nut and the thread of the screw to make the movement of the nut along the threads of the screw smoother. A ball screw is similar in appearance and function to a lead screw, but has a few distinct differences that make a ball screw a better choice in certain situations. Interested in learning more? This article will tell you more about the pros and cons of using ball screws.
Ball Screws Are Highly Efficient
Ball screws are more efficient than other types of screws, boasting 90% efficiency in comparison to a lead screw’s 20-80%. This means that ball screws are able to convert more of their rotary motion to linear motion more quickly than other types of screws.
Ball Screws Are Accurate
Ball screws are also known for their accuracy. If a machine requires a screw with a high amount of accuracy, a ball screw is the way to go. Depending on whether you choose a ground or rolled ball screw, the exact level of precision can vary from device to device.
Ball Screws Lessen Friction
The ball bearings of a ball screw serve to reduce friction as the nut moves along the shaft of the screw. This results in less wear to the device in addition to a longer lifespan.
Ball Screws Are More Cost-Effective
Ball screws are often used as an alternative to hydraulic or pneumatic systems since they use less external power. This, combined with their long lifespans, makes ball screws a cost-effective option.
Ball Screws Are More Expensive
While ball screws are more cost-effective, they are more expensive than other kinds of screws upfront. Although the payoff can be worth it, buyers need to be prepared for that investment.
Ball Screws Require a Braking System
One main drawback of ball screws is that due to their lack of friction, they tend to be back driven easily. As such, a braking system needs to be installed along with the ball screw.
Ball Screws Are Noisy
Ball screws create more noise during operation than other types of screws. If the machine in which the ball screw is installed must be quiet, a ball screw may not be the best option.
Ball Screws Need Frequent Greasing and Oiling
Because of the extra moving part of the ball bearings, ball screws need to be lubricated more frequently than other types of screws. Buyers must be prepared to keep up with their maintenance or face replacing the part prematurely.
If you’re considering purchasing a ball screw apparatus, weigh these pros and cons of using ball screws against the function of the machine you’ll use them in. If your machine requires high accuracy, efficiency, or smooth movement, and the cons of a ball screw won’t affect its operation, then a ball screw might be a good fit for you.